In terms of area, Canada is the second largest country after Russia. With an area of 9,984,670 square kilometers, Canada is almost as big as all of Europe. 41% of the North American continent is occupied by Canada. The neighboring countries of Canada are the United States in the south, Alaska in the northwest, and Greenland in the northeast. Greenland is not a direct neighbor of Canada because the land areas of Canada and Greenland are separated by the 30 km wide Kennedy Channel.
The land area of Canada is 9,093,507 km² and 891,163 km² is water. The longest north-south stretch of Canada is 4,634 km. This extends from Cape Columbia to Middle Island in Lake Eri. The longest east-west extension is 5514 km. This extends from Newfoundland (Cape Spear) to the border of the Yukon Territory. The border between Canada and the USA has a total length of 8890 km.
Canada is geographically very diverse. The provinces of Québec, Newfoundland and Labrador are made up of eroded mountain slopes. Most of Canada’s largest lakes are located in the west and south. 7.6% of the total area of Canada is covered with lakes. Canada has around two million lakes, 563 of which are larger than 100 square kilometers. The largest lake in Canada is Great Bear Lake with 31,153 square kilometers. Other large lakes in Canada are the Great Slave Lake 27,048 square kilometers, the Winnipeg lake 24,420 square kilometers, the Athabasca lake 7,850 square kilometers and the Great Lakes which together are around 245,000 square kilometers.
The longest river in Canada is the Mackenzie River at 4,241 km. The St. Lawrence River is one of the most important rivers in Canada with a total length of 3,058 km, as it is used as a waterway between the Atlantic and the Great Lakes. Other important rivers are the Columbia River, Yukon River, Nelson River, Fraser River, Churchill River, and the Manicouagan.
The highest mountain in Canada is Mount Logan at 5959 meters. The Rocky Mountains in the west and the coastal mountains on the Pacific coast are among the highest mountain regions in Canada. In the east of Canada are the Appalachian Mountains and the Laurentine Mountains.
The largest island in Canada is Baffin Island. Baffin Island is 462,833 square kilometers, about 1,600 km long and 200 to 700 km wide. This is also the fifth largest island in the world. The largest island in the world is the neighboring island of Greenland. The northernmost peninsula of Canada is Boothia. The coastline of Canada is the longest coastline in the world at 202,080 km.
Canada – Flora
Canada is known for its vast natural areas. 70% of the area of Canada is mainly covered by mountain and tundra regions. The natural areas of Canada make up 20% of the world’s wilderness. Whereby the Antarctic is not taken into account.
Although Canada has large areas of forest, only a small part of it is actually virgin forest. Most of this area is used by the timber industry. The northern tree line of Canada stretches in a snake shape from the east coast of Labrador to Alaska. In the north of the tree line there is almost no fertile soil because the tundra regions begin here.
The tundra areas consist mainly of knee-high bushes, grasses, sedge and moss.
One of the largest coniferous forest areas in the world extends south of the tree line. In the east of Canada there are mainly mixed forests. Beeches, pines, sugar maples and hemlocks can be found here. The south with its lowlands has mostly deciduous forests. Oak, elm, chestnut, walnut and hickory trees are particularly common here. To the west are the mountainous regions of Canada. Yellow and Lodgepole pine, spruce, duo-glazed and the quivering aspen thrive here. Duglas spruce, red cedar and hemlock are particularly common on the rainy Pacific coast. The prairie country of Canada is determined by a drought that is too high for larger forests to live here. The former, most widespread hilly grasslands of Canada, can only be found sporadically today.
Canada – fauna
Canada also has a large number of animal species due to its huge and varied natural areas. Arctic wolves and foxes, arctic hares, wolverines, musk oxen, caribou and many lemmings live in the tundra areas. Seals, walruses, whales and polar bears inhabit the great waters of Canada.
Canada is a summer destination for around five billion migratory birds, which settle in the boreal forests and hibernate there. Birds living in Canada include ducks, Canada geese, herons, gulls, auks, wood warblers, cardinals, bald eagles, mockingbirds, and other seabirds.
Elk, black and brown bears, and lynxes are the most common species in the forests of Canada.
Due to the earlier fur trade, beavers, minks, muskrats and martens can also be found in Canada.
Many elk live in the sparsely populated south of Canada. More smaller mammals, such as weasels, cheek squirrels, gray squirrels, and otters, live in the more densely populated areas.
As in the south, the prairie areas of Canada are mainly home to small animal species such as pocket rats, grouse and prairie rabbits. However, larger animals such as pronghorn antelopes and bison can also be found here, which make up the largest bison population in the world with around 6,000 animals.
In the mountains of Canada there are very well-adapted animal species, such as the mountain duck, the mountain goat and the bighorn sheep.
Many animals are protected in Canada. These are particularly effectively protected by the 43 national parks and many hundreds of nature reserves and provincial parks. The largest nature reserve in Canada is Wood Buffalo National Park. This extends over an area of 44,802 square kilometers.